Over the past few years, influenced by Instagram and Youtube, the craze of Urban Exploration has become more and more common. Urban Exploration generally involves trespassing onto unmanned objects such as bridges, buildings and construction sites often without the aid of rope or climbing equipment, which can be a problem to developers and owners for multiple reasons.

The Occupier’s Liability Act 1984- what can we do about it?  

Notwithstanding the clear safety implications to individuals choosing to trespass and engage in Urban Exploration behaviour, issues can also arise for contractors who may have to grapple with the consequences of damage to their sites, and their obligations under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 towards trespassers on their land.

Contractors and developers are duty-bound to care for and account for any risks a trespasser may face when accessing their land, which would include falling from heights on scaffolding or dislodging temporary external structures. These acts could cause damage to those present on structures, or below them to people and property. There have been several fatalities involving Urban Explorers on construction sites and so this is a very real problem that Contractors are facing.

What can be done to mitigate the obligations on contractors?

To minimise the risk of incurring liability for the consequences of Urban Exploration, some contractors are starting to take out injunctions against individuals who use platforms such as Instagram and Youtube to document their trespassing activities.

The internet has been used as a tool for identifying Urban Explorers who have been surprisingly liberal about revealing their personal identity online, and injunctions have been secured against them using evidence from video content they have posted of trespassing on a site or building.

This can be extremely useful as Parliament does not generally consider a case of simple trespass as  appropriate to be sanctioned as a criminal offence, and so for example when Urban Explorers only spend minimal time on a site and leave without complaint when asked by security staff, it is difficult to take any decisive action which will hinder them from staying off-site in the future.

Once an Injunction is in place however, explorers are much more likely to cease their activities in relation to that site, as the risk if they were caught breaking an injunction would be to spend time in prison.

This is not a catch all solution, as the individual in question must be identified, but the above shows the great power that injunctions can have in protecting contractors from having to deal with the consequences of Urban Explorers trespassing on their site.

Myerson’s highly experienced construction team regularly assist companies with injunctions to protect themselves from such situations. If you need legal advice, speak to us today by calling 0161 826 7184 or via email